Announcing the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab

September 07, 2017

Dear faculty colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that we have launched an exciting new collaboration between MIT and IBM on artificial intelligence.

The growth in research and investigation around AI has exploded over the last decade, and MIT has played a key role in the development of the field for many decades. This new agreement will provide MIT with resources — $90 million over ten years — that will allow us to build on our leadership in AI, as well as industry partners who can help us translate our work into the tools, platforms, and devices that will unlock its potential to change the world.

The ten-year agreement will lead to the formation of the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab, where IBM and Institute researchers will explore the hardware and software that will power the future of AI. IBM is investing a total of $240 million in the lab.

Up to 100 researchers from MIT and IBM will work together, on campus and at the IBM Watson headquarters on Binney Street in Kendall Square, across a range of areas. These include: core AI technology; the physics of AI; applications of AI to industry, including biomedicine; and advancing shared prosperity through AI. It’s our hope that this new collaboration can serve as a template for others.

In the coming weeks, we will co-host a launch event with IBM at their Binney Street facility. There will be tours, lightning talks by MIT and IBM AI researchers, and a question-and-answer session about the ways in which you can participate in this new program. We will also soon issue a call for proposals to researchers in all five of MIT’s schools.

I would like to thank our dean of engineering, Anantha Chandrakasan, for the vision and leadership he has demonstrated in formalizing this agreement with IBM; you can read more about his plans for the collaboration on MIT News. I encourage faculty who are doing work in AI to reach out to Anantha to learn more about how they can become involved and help shape this important new work.


Martin A. Schmidt